With COVID now under control, or at least less scaring than when first hit, we can travel again and visit those places that never go out of fashion.
I’m used to go to Venice anytime I like. And whether it is taken by crowds of tourists, somewhat, at least for the habitues it is always possible to get away, find a secluded area or a quiet restaurant, and enjoy the view.
It is a little more complicated in Firenze.
I wanted to make a brief tour of Firenze, without much planning. Just go and visit what could be seen, and just walk the city.
Well, being Easter it did complicated things a little, as many people probably thought the same.
Piazza Della Signoria was full, and so were the other landmarks, Santa Maria del Fiore and Battistero, and the iconic Ponte Vecchio.
I had no expectations to be able to visit the Uffizi. It is too big to visit in a short visit. The Uffizi need time! But I would have expected to see Santa Croce and even Santa Maria Novella.
I was disappointed!
Santa Maria del Fiore and its Battistero are too closely located for the crowd that always stands in front of them. Once you are there, it is difficult to gain a “front-row” to admire the magnificent portal. If you turn around you can hardly see the facade of the cathedral.
In slight frustration, we moved to Piazza Della Signoria, but here too it is difficult to approach the David, or the Loggia dei Lanzi, we were always blocked by too many people. All standing, because, contrary to Venice San Marco piazza, there are no cafes with chairs to sit and admire the sights.
We ended up making many comparisons between Florence and Venice, with Venice coming out as the winner all the time.
To get off the crowd we tried to move off the beaten path, past the Pitti Palace and Boboli gardens, just to discover that there are very isolated cafes and restaurants, and most were closed because of Easter Sunday.
Likewise, Santa Maria Novella was closed, and so was Accademia where the “real” David is located.
Santa Croce was supposed to officially close at 5:30 pm, but at 5:00 sharp they won’t let anyone in anymore.
In short, Firenze is beautiful but needs a precise schedule. Or else is just frustratingly tiresome.